a park house wedding

(Photo credit:  Christine Caj)

We did it!  I’m officially a married woman.  I have a HUSBAND!!  Holy smokes it still feels so surreal every time I say that!  I’m still recovering from all of the wedding and honeymoon festivities, but in the meantime here are a few photos of our amazing day courtesy of my dearest friends Christine and Michelle.

(Photo credit:  MSH Photography)

(Photo credit:  MSH Photography)

(Photo credit:  MSH Photography)

(Photo credit: Christine Caj)

(Photo credit: Christine Caj)

(Photo credit:  MSH Photography)

Everything came together beautifully from the succulent centerpieces to our DIY bouquets and boutonnieres to the homemade favors…it was amazing to see my vision come to life.  I’m looking forward to sharing all of the details with you in the coming weeks as well as some work we’ve been doing around the house 🙂

a new front porch light fixture and wedding invite sneak peek

Remember when I showed you all our newly painted house exterior and mentioned that we hadn’t decided on a light fixture for the front porch yet, but I had found one I liked?  But Devin didn’t like it, and I needed a little more time to work on him?

Well, I worked on it :).

I love it!  A couple weekends ago we went to Lamps Plus and looked at the fixture in person.  Not only did Devin end up liking it when he saw it, but it was on sale.  Score!  Not only that, there’s a matching longer one that we’ll be getting for the back of the house by the sliding door.

I like the simple clean Mission style and the rubbed bronze finish…and the clear seeded glass.

It hangs just far enough off the wall to be noticeable but not in the way.

 

In other news, yesterday marked the two month countdown to our wedding!  I can’t believe how fast time is flying.  You may have noticed that it’s been pretty quiet around these parts in the last few weeks.  That’s because I’m neck deep in wedding projects, but I can’t share any of them on this blog yet because I want our wedding guests to be seeing all of the details for the first time on the day of.  Fear not, I’ll be providing detailed posts on our wedding after I get back from the honeymoon :).

To whet your appetite, here’s a sneak peek of the kraft paper tags I made with a custom stamp for our wedding invitations.

I’m really happy with how they turned out, and all of the guests have been loving them…I can’t wait ’til I can share them with you all in their entirety!

 

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how to sew curtains

I had purchased the fabric for our new living room curtains awhile back, but I’ve been putting off actually making them because frankly, I was a little intimidated.  It wasn’t even so much the sewing part, but more the measuring and cutting STRAIGHT lines with that much fabric.  Up until now I’ve only sewn small projects with manageable amounts of fabric.  I finally sucked it up and started them this past Sunday and finished them last night.  No, it didn’t take me four days to make them….it took me three days to recover enough from the stress of the measuring and cutting I did on Sunday to move on to the sewing part :).

Our old living room curtains weren’t particularly horrible in any way. (These photos were taken last fall, hence the pumpkins on the mantel.)

There was just nothing special about them.

The cream color was pretty blah, and Devin and I both agreed (surprisingly) that we needed curtains with more oomph to them.

Enter, Magnolia Home Fashions Java Ikat Fabric in Yacht Blue.  This is one of those patterns that you’ll either love or hate, given that it’s pretty bold.  But hey, go big or go home right?  Thankfully, we both loved it.

There’s really no set formula for making curtains since the measurements and rod pocket size are really up to you.

Have enough fabric to cover the length that you want your curtains to be plus additional length to allow for the top and bottom seams.  I wanted my curtains to be 89″ long.  I also wanted 3″ wide pockets for both the top and bottom.  Accounting for the first 1/2″ that I would have to fold over each end before folding over again for the 3″ pocket, that equated to: 89″ + 3.5″ + 3.5″ = 96″ length for each curtain panel.  For the width, the fabric I chose was 54″ wide and that ended up being just the right width per panel for our big front window.  (If you want your curtains wider than the width the fabric comes in, you’d have to sew two lengths of fabric together side by side, or conversely, if you want it narrower, just cut the fabric down to the width you prefer.)

As I mentioned above, it took me forever to get the measurements right.  It came in one super long piece that was enough for both panels so I had to cut it down to size, and then I had to make sure the cuts were STRAIGHT which was difficult given how wide the fabric was.  Lastly, since I wanted the pattern to flow continuously across when the two panels were closed, I had to make sure I cut each panel at the same point in the pattern.  I’m not even going to tell you how long it took me to do this.  It’s pretty embarrassing.  If any of you sewing pros out there have tips for measuring and cutting huge pieces of fabric, PLEASE bring them on!

Three days later (last night) I finally got to the sewing part.

First I did the side seams.  I folded the fabric over to the wrong side 1/2″, pressed, then over another 1/2″ and pressed again (you could do whatever width you prefer here, though I hear 1″ is the norm.)  I pinned this down every 4-6″, then I sewed a (fairly) straight stitch all the way down the length of each panel.  Then I repeated this with the other sides.

Next I did the top and bottom pockets.  Starting with the top end, I folded over 1/2″ to the wrong side of the fabric and pressed then folded over another 3″ and pressed.  I pinned this down too every few inches.

Then I sewed a straight stitch along the inner fold where I pinned, making sure to backstitch at the beginning and the end to secure it all in place.  When I was finished, the pocket looked like this.

Here’s a close up of the corner where I backstitched over the side seam.

Then it was time to hang them up. I took some photos last night right after we hung them so excuse the lighting.

How’s that for some oomph?  Notice, after all of my work, they’re STILL not perfectly straight..the ends of the bottom turn up a little.  No idea where I went wrong, but you know what?  I can live with it :).  Also, the slight sag in the middle of the sheer curtain rod is due to the dogs sometimes stepping on the curtain when they look out the window.  We’ll be screwing that rod into the top of the window frame so it doesn’t sag anymore.

Here are the curtains during the day.

I love how that side of the room has such a big pop of color now.  Our next living room project is to paint the fireplace (again ha) to match the trim color which is Behr Ivory Mist.  The fireplace being a neutral color will give me more room to add more pops of color to the space and to the mantle.

I’m sort of super in love with them.

Turned up bottoms and all :).

 

 

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fabric covered lamp shade and my new orleans bachelorette

What do you think of this spray painted thrift store lamp base and Bettina fabric covered shade that I did for my office?

Do you love it as much as I do?  To read about how I did it, please hop on over to Tiffany’s awesomely creative blog Living Savvy where I am guest posting today as part of her Spray Painter’s Anonymous series.

In other news, I’ve spent this week nursing a cold that I caught at the tale end of my bachelorette party in New Orleans last weekend.  It was well worth it, and I had an amazing time with my bridesmaids…but let me tell you…as I near my 30th birthday it’s painfully apparent that I’m getting too old for three day benders!  I’d love to hit up New Orleans again, but maybe with less drinking next time :).

We rented a condo in the French Quarter right off of Bourbon street, and I HIGHLY recommend it.  It was much cheaper for our group of 6 than staying in a hotel plus we had an awesome balcony, beautiful digs and all of the amenities that come with a hotel combined with the comforts of home.  It was perfect!

My bridesmaids came up with a couple of games to keep me on my toes.  They had Devin answer a bunch of questions about me prior to the trip (sneaky!) and I had to guess how he answered them.  If I got it right, they all took a shot…if I got it wrong, I took a shot.  I still came out winning in the end, but let’s just say I drank more than I expected to :).  The second game was to find other people named Devin in New Orleans.  1 point if it was a girl, 2 points if it was a guy, 3 points if it was spelled the same way with an “i” and 4 points if it was a “hot” Devin.  Wouldn’t you know, the doorman at Pat O’Briens our first night out was named Devin…AND he even let me keep his name tag!  Best souvenir ever…and I won that game 🙂

Add to that a great jazz show at Preservation Hall, private walking tour of the quarter, a rum distillery tour, shopping in the French Market, taking the streetcar to the Garden District and Lafayette Cemetery….

…mix in some adult beverages at Pat O’Brien’s, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, French 75 and Coquette

…plus dancing and all around revelry on Bourbon Street and Frenchman Street

…and THEN top it off with all of the delicious food we ate at Cafe Du Monde, NOLA, Johnny’s Po-Boys and Cochon among others…

…and you get a pretty amazing weekend with the best Maid of Honor (my sister) and bridesmaids a bride could ever ask for.

I’ll leave it to Instagram to sum it up in photos for y’all :).

sweet glazed butterflied chicken and tater asparagus toss

I always assumed that butterflying a chicken was one of those things that “fancy” chefs do.  Until I saw this recipe on Food Network one morning and it looked SO good that I just had to try it.  As it turns out, butterflying a chicken isn’t so difficult.  If I can do it, anyone can do it.

How to Butterfly a Chicken

  1. Place chicken on a flat surface, breast side down with the drumsticks pointing towards you.
  2. Using kitchen shears, cut along either side of the backbone and remove completely (you will hear a crunching sound as you cut through the ribs).
  3. Use a sharp knife to make an incision down the center of the gristle or cartilage running down the breast bone in the now open cavity of the chicken.
  4. Turn chicken over and using the palm of your hand, press down on the center of the breast until you hear a crack and the chicken lays flat.

Not so hard right?

This chicken is DELICIOUS.  The meat is moist and juicy, and the sweet tangy glaze in particular is finger licking good.  Seriously, this stuff should be bottled.   I’m not exaggerating one bit.  In fact, next time I’ll be doubling, maybe even tripling the glaze recipe so that there’s extra to go around.   The Tater and Asparagus Toss goes perfectly with it and can easily be made while the chicken is roasting in the oven.

Sweet Glazed Butterflied Chicken (recipe from Sunny Anderson)

  • 1 (5 pound) whole chicken, butterflied
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP onion, grated (I used a microplane zester)
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP stone ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp hot sauce
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Allow to rest on the counter for up to 2 hours to come to room temperature.

Heat a large cast iron skillet (or other oven safe pan) over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Just as the oil begins to smoke, add the chicken, skin side down. Press gently while cooking and sear until skin is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Flip the bird over so that the skin is on top, place the pan in the oven and roast about 30 minutes.

While the chicken is roasting you can make the finger licking good sweet glaze.  Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic and allspice, a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Sweat the onions for a few minutes, but do not brown. Add the brown sugar, mustard, hot sauce and vinegar. Cook a few more minutes to bring the flavors together, then remove from the heat.

Remove the chicken from the oven and brush on the glaze.  Don’t be stingy and make sure you get that deliciousness in every nook and cranny.  Return to the oven and continue to cook until an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees F, about 15 more minutes. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving and try not to drool all over it.

Tater and Asparagus Toss (recipe adapted from Sunny Anderson)

  • 2 strips bacon, chopped
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 4 yellow potatoes, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • grated zest of 1 lemon

In a large pan over medium high heat, cook bacon until crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Add butter to the remaining bacon fat and add the potato slices.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook until crisp on one side, then toss and cook on the other side until crispy.  Add the onions, garlic, scallions and asparagus.  Cool until the asparagus are bright green and tender, yet still crunchy, about 3-5 minutes.  Season with salt to taste, and sprinkle with lemon juice and lemon zest.  Toss in the reserved bacon.

 

 

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